Bandipur – Nepali city with a European face – Between Pokhara and Kathmandu in the mountains at an altitude of 1000 meters, there is the tiny town of Bandipur, which is completely different from the usual Nepalese settlements. Once in Bandipur, you don’t understand, is it Nepal at all, or maybe another country? Well-groomed streets, a sea of flowers, rich houses and mountain landscapes are a sort of a piece of the European Alps with an Asian flavor. I have not seen anything like this in this country for 2 weeks of traveling around Nepal!
Bandipur was once a rich trading city, through which caravans passed from India to Tibet and back. Here rich Newari merchants settled, who actually built this city. But soon Tibet was gone, and the Nepalese built a road below bypassing the city. And Bandipur is empty, and all that remains of its former greatness are the descendants of merchants and beautiful Newari architecture. But the descendants of the great, the city is not abandoned, but rather made it a first-class “candy.”
The main difference of Bandipur from the rest of the cities of Nepal is some kind of supernatural purity! Here everything is cleaned, everything is well maintained, there are no landfills anywhere and just a sea of greenery and flowers. And what is the air here !!!
After all, the second feature of this city is the complete absence of any transport! At first, you do not even understand why it is so quiet here? And all because there are no rumbling motorcycles and always honking cars, from which a lot of noise and dirt. In Bandipur, there is a large parking lot at the entrance to the city, and entry to the city itself is strictly prohibited! It is exclusively a pedestrian city. But do not be afraid, the city is small and you don’t have to walk much. In fact, in Bandipur, there is one main street, on which all the most beautiful and interesting are located. Here is the bulk of hotels, guest houses, and restaurants where you can eat very tasty and very cheap. From the main street, be sure to walk up the stone steps. Here, by the way, it is no less clean and beautiful than in the center of the village.
Naturally, such beauty and ecology cannot fail to attract tourists, for whom many restaurants and mini-hotels are open. Although, I would not say that there are many tourists here. Still, not everyone knows about this city, and getting here without personal transport is not so easy. But to come here at least for a day is definitely worth it!
And having risen, we will get to the small, but very famous temple Khadga Devi (Khadga Devi). In this small temple is stored the famous artifact – the sword Khadga one of the ancient kings presented to him by Shiva himself! This blade is considered divine (sort of as a carrier of feminine energies) and once a year, during the religious festival Dashain, it is sprinkled with real blood. This is the only day of the year when the temple opens its doors to visitors. All other days it is closed.
Near the temple, I met Sadhu! This is not one of those clowns in Kathmandu who work for the tourists’ cameras and ask for a coin for it, but a real roving hermit monk. Dreadlocks, rags, robe, a bag with belongings and a blessed smile!
He calmly posed, smiled, and then, wishing good luck, went on his way, without asking for anything! Now I know exactly what he is – real sadhu!
In Bandipur, in addition to the iconic temple of the “sword”, there are several other temples, most of which are located on the main street among restaurants and guesthouses.
There is even a real library! No, ancient scrolls and texts are not stored here, but ordinary paper books for the inhabitants of the city lie. Life in Bandipur is calm and measured. The population of the city is about a thousand people, not counting tourists, and they live their usual village life. Women work in the fields, Men read newspapers, Children go to school, Traders try to sell and no one is in a hurry, because time has stopped here for a long time …
And I walked, took pictures, and could not believe that this is Nepal !!! It’s great to just walk around, sit in a cafe, admire the best traditions of Newari architecture, and in good weather from Bandipur there is a stunning view of the snowy Himalayas led by Manaslu. In general, Bandipur is the best town for relaxation before (or after) a hike through the Himalayas.
How to get to Bandipur?
Take the bus on the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway to Dumre (Dumre stop or “Bandipur Bus Stop”). Then we pass through the Bandipur gate (Bandipur Gates), on which local Benders can ask you for an entrance fee (you don’t need to pay anything) and go up the hill! Or go on foot, or catch a ride. Local residents will gladly give you a lift for a small fee.